Category Archives: Languages

May 1, 2016

Inside “Emojigeddon”: The Fight Over The Future Of The Unicode Consortium

Emails seen by BuzzFeed News reveal an emerging tension at the Unicode Consortium — the 24-year-old organization that was established to develop standards for translating alphabets into code that can be read across all computers and operating systems.

The series of frustrated messages show a deepening rift between those who adhere to the organization’s original mission to code old and obscure and minority languages and those who are investing time and resources toward Unicode’s newer and most popular character sets: emojis, a quirky periodic table of ideograms and smiley faces that cover everything from bemused laughter to swirling, smiling piles of poop. The correspondence offers a peek behind the scenes of the peculiar and little-known organization that’s unexpectedly been tasked with building what some see as the first digital universal language.

December 10, 2015

The 58 most commonly misused words and phrases

I’ve known to avoid most of these, but I must admit that I’ve been misusing the following for years:

Disinterested means unbiasedand does not mean uninterested.

Nonplussed means stunned, bewildered and does not mean bored, unimpressed.

With regards to the other words in the list, I still prefer using the singular datum over data where possible. I remember once being “corrected” by my upper secondary school teacher because of it.

November 24, 2015

Mapping the United Swears of America

Helldamn and bitch are especially popular in the south and southeast. Douche is relatively common in northern states. Bastard is beloved in Maine and New Hampshire, and those states – together with a band across southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas – are the areas of particular motherfucker favour. Crap is more popular inland, fuck along the coasts. Fuckboy – a rising star* – is also mainly a coastal thing, so far.

Who knew?

November 18, 2015

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of The Year 2015

It’s 😂, the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji.

This year Oxford University Press have partnered with leading mobile technology business SwiftKey to explore frequency and usage statistics for some of the most popular emoji across the world, and 😂 was chosen because it was the most used emoji globally in 2015. SwiftKey identified that 😂 made up 20% of all the emojis used in the UK in 2015, and 17% of those in the US: a sharp rise from 4% and 9% respectively in 2014. The word emoji has seen a similar surge: although it has been found in English since 1997, usage more than tripled in 2015 over the previous year according to data from the Oxford Dictionaries Corpus.

I know the choice has received its fair share of flak on account of it not being a word but a pictograph, but I like it. Languages evolve naturally and it’s refreshing to see this acknowledged.

April 10, 2015

Glossary of auto-antonyms

One example: egregious, which can mean “outstandingly bad” or “remarkably good”, depending on the context.

November 27, 2014

Word of the Day

suspiration, noun
The act of breathing, not necessarily for a sustained period (compare respiration, which is sustained)

(via Wiktionary)